Eleven people have been arrested by detectives investigating a major money laundering operation in NI.
Police said the criminal operation resulted in almost £16 million being deposited from accounts in Northern Ireland into thousands of bank accounts across the UK since January 2018.
Yesterday’s arrests and searches were carried out by officers from the PSNI’s Economic Crime Unit, supported by the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force.
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson said: “Together with officers from neighbourhood and local policing teams and colleagues from PSNI’s Operational Support Department, we carried out a large scale search and arrest operation targeting individuals suspected of money laundering through bank accounts.
“Six men aged 67, 48, 44, 42, 41 and 35 and five women aged 60, 38, 36, 34 and 32 were arrested during today’s (Monday) operation which was...led by the National Economic Crime Centre.”
DCI Wilson said “During our investigation we identified that a significant volume of suspected criminal cash was being laundered out of the country through a number of bank accounts held here in Northern Ireland.
“We believe that the majority of this money is derived from a range of criminal activity carried out by Chinese organised crime groups. Money laundering is often a critical enabler of organised criminality and today’s operation is part of a wider ongoing investigation.”
Mr Wilson added: “We are committed to keeping people safe by robustly pursuing those who are involved in laundering criminally derived money and enabling criminals to access the profits gained from their involvement in a range of illegal activities.
“I would appeal for anyone with any information on this type of activity to contact Police on 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Last night all of the suspects remained in police custody being questioned by detectives.